By Rich Epstein
Some of the creative forces behind the new animated movie Constantine: City of Demons were on hand at NYCC to show some clips and talk about the film, which , will be available on DVD and Blu Ray this Tuesday, October 9th. Peter Girardi, Executive Vice President at Warner, moderated the panel including producer Butch Lukic, writer J.M. Matteis, character designer Phil Bourassa and voice actors Rachel Kinsey (Angela) and Damian O’Hare (Chaz).
The movie is rated R, something that thrilled the panelists, as it gave them the freedom to create the movie that they wanted rather than worry about going too far to get a pg rating. So, expect to see plenty of Constantine smoking, plenty of blood and gore, and some good old sex thrown in. These scenes were particularly fun for Rachel Kinsey, who was given the opportunity to show a range that isn’t often possible in animated roles. Kinsey said that there was “real freedom when your target audience isn’t nine” before telling the audience that she’s “really hot in this movie.” Of course, you can’t tell in the film that she was 8 months pregnant while doing the voice work.
Matteis, who has a long career writing not only for DC animated but also the comics, created Night Nurse and was happy to have the ability to bring her into this story. He said that Constantine appeals to him as a writer because he likes “characters with duality”, noting that Constantine can be a “real bastard” but that he also has a heart and can be counted on to do the right thing.
Bourassa spoke a bit about how liberating it was to do something dark for a chance. He loves superheroes, but it was refreshing to do something without tights and capes for a change. He also spoke a bit about how little he had to do in regards to the character of Constantine himself. Bourassa said that the character is so well designed that it’s just a one to one translation into the movie. The real fun for him came in developing the demons.
O’Hare, who voiced Constantine in Justice League Action, noted that this is a much darker take. He loves the relationship between his character, Chaz, and Constantine. Chaz is a standin for the audience in many ways…he is the human component.
Mattheis noted that Chaz is a character that humanizes Constantine through the contrast between the two. He then said that the story loosely sprang from the graphic novel All His Engines. There was a line in that novel that Constantine could feel the city’s eyes on him. Mattheis loved the thought of that line, of the city being alive, and that is what led to the creation of the character Angela, the demon of Los Angeles. Angela holds onto the dark moments of Hollywood and embodies them.
The panel spoke a little about Constantine portrayer Matt Ryan, who unfortunately could not be on hand as he was busy playing the live action version of Constantine on Legends of Tomorrow. Mattheis called Ryan perfect casting, comparing it to Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. He noted that the first time he saw an ad for the NBC show he just flipped back and forth between the ad and a page in the comic, he just couldn’t get over how perfectly Ryan embodied the character.
Parts of the movie have already been seen, in the form of a series of five 5-minute episodes on CW Seed. Another series of episodes will drop, likely later this year, but there will be about twenty minutes of footage in the DVD that will never make it onto CW Seed. Those twenty minutes, of course, are a lot of the reason the movie is rated R, so if you want the true experience, you’ll need to pick up the DVD when it comes out on Tuesday.
Lukic said that barely any changes needed to be made to the script during production, other than adding more blood and gore and violence (did I mention how happy they all were to be working on an R rated movie?).